India announces plans for a Mars mission in 2013
NEW DELHI (AP) - India plans to send a spacecraft to Mars next year in a giant leap forward for science and technology in the country, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday.
Dr Singh said the unmanned spacecraft will enter orbit around the planet and collect scientific information. He announced the 4.5 billion rupee (S$101 million) mission during a speech marking the 65th anniversary of India's independence from British rule.
"This spaceship to Mars will be a huge step for us in the area of science and technology," he said. The spacecraft is to be launched in November 2013 on a frequently used rocket developed by the Indian Space Research Organization.
India has had an active space programme since the 1960s. Since the 1970s it has launched scores of satellites for itself and for nearly two dozen other countries.